Thursday, January 04, 2007

January 4, 2007
Quite chilly out. Took the dogs for a bike ride as late as I could, trying to avoid the dark, hoping for sunshine. Started work on a giant set piece for the Top Secret Project. My goal is to work on it every day before I go into work. Big landscape of dry lake, twin fires on distant mountains. Verdict still out. Worked about an hour on it.

Meghan Saar and I met with Henry Beck yesterday to talk about expanding his role in our Westerns section. We really like his writing and want him to have freer rein to go to town with that part of the magazine. He had great ideas and is quite knowledgeable on all things pop culture and movie related. Very exciting and promising. Look for these additions in the May or June issue.

Our art director Dan Harshberger is coming out this afternoon to shoot the Kimes cover. Last night I drove home via Schoolhouse Road to check out a possible photo site, but there were a gaggle of contstruction trucks right where we wanted to set up (they're doing a huge add-on to the library). Drove out to the other end of the road and looked back, but it's not as dynamic, and there are gargantuan power poles in the way. Harsh just laughed when I called him and said he would take care of anything like that in Photoshop. Robert Ray is going to shoot the photo. Kimes is staying at Joel's house. He's supposed to come in this morning. Haven't seen him yet.

Sketchbook Angst & Gaffs Galore
Looking back on my early sketchbook efforts is quite painful and I hesitate to share some of the more glaring boners and pretentious pap (and trust me, there are plenty more where these came from!). Here's a couple examples: last year I called a halt to what we call "Stunt Covers." Those are the True West covers where we tried to be edgy and get attention. Although many people tell me they thought we were brave to run covers on Jesus Out West and Homos On The Range (Is America Ready for A Gay Western?), we did not get the spike on the newsstand we had hoped for. Here is one of the sketch pages where I was flailing around looking for a suitable, but edgy Jesus as Cowboy cover. Yes, he's pulling a loaf of bread out of his holster, and no, it didn't end up in the final, Thank God! Or should that be Thank The Son of God?! On the right are several studies for the Wyatt Earp shoots Frank Stilwell at the Tucson Train Station. Dave Daiss was the model and I tried hard, but it just sucks.

I am related to a family therapist, and she asked me to do a newspaper ad for her, so I whipped out the following "Still Miserable?" illustrations. We used the one of the furrowed brow on the bottom right:

The fateful day I started doing six sketches a day was November 12, 2005 and I can't remember why I chose six or why I made the vow, but here are several early pages in that run. Yes, that's Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday from the movie Tombstone (lower left). Whenever possible I try to steal from the very best and here's Ben Thompson (with butcher knife stuck in his top hat) entering the Variety Theatre in San Antonio. He's got about an hour to live. The sketch is a total ripoff of Toulouse Latrec. But, if you look at the progression, there is a teensy bit of growth happening.

Onion Headline de Jour
180 Trillion Leisure Hours Lost to Work In 2004

"Laughter springs from the lawless part of our nature."
—Agnes Repplier

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